By ALAN THATCHER
The tests have involved calibrating the speed of moving objects on earth and comparing them to likely speeds on the surface of the moon.
The experiments sound fun, but, ahead of a space station being built on the moon within the next 20 years, NASA are treating the results with the utmost seriousness.
A NASA spokesman said: “The likelihood of a manned space station on the moon is getting closer, and the need to supply leisure facilities for staff who face long-term postings there is a very important one.
“Because of the difference in gravity between the earth and the moon, we need to make all kinds of tests to measure how different objects will behave.
“Open-air squash may not be feasible because of the vast increase in the speed of the ball. We will need to look at how we build these structures and whether our staff will need to wear oxygen masks while playing, or whether the buildings are sealed units with a steady supply of oxygen.
“We have been indebted to Mr White and Mr Pilley for their assistance in the tests and we can confirm that their ball speeds on earth have been eclipsed by the speeds they achieved in tests reflecting lunar gravity.
During earthbound tests, White recorded 172mph at Canary Wharf five years ago, with Pilley setting a new record of 175mph at the US Open in 2011.
“Sadly there is no trophy available [and no photos due to strict NASA security], but, for the record, Mr Pilley record 199 miles per hour and Mr White achieved an amazing 202mph.
“All the trials were carried out with double-dot competition ball.”
The spokesman added: “We are looking at a number of sports facilities for the manned lunar station and squash came top of the list in a survey we carried out among a number of scientists and astronauts from all over the world.”